• United States

New year, same resolutions

Jan 05, 20043 mins
Access ControlEnterprise Applications

* Déjà vu for Identity Management newsletter

Happy New Year! Let’s hope that 2004 is the year when identity management moves beyond the testing lab and fully integrates with the rest of the computer services you use. But for that to happen, we all need to do some work.

It’s traditional at this time of year for people to vow to make improvements in the way they do things through New Year’s Resolutions. Often the resolutions have to do with improvements in health or fitness but many people also use them in an effort to give better direction to their daily lives. Last year, when this was still the Directory Services newsletter, I offered three resolutions for the industry. Today we’ll look at how well those vows fared.

The three resolutions I offered were:

1) Consolidate standards groups and stop the proliferations of standards specifications.

2) Create standards for virtual directory services.

3) Do better generic marketing of directories as data repositories for applications and services.

No new directory-based standards arose in 2003 (we were all too busy competing on the identity federation front), but little consolidation took place among existing standards so the first resolution appears to be a wash.

Absolutely no one took me up on resolution No. 2, although there has been a slight increase in the Lightweight Directory Access Protocol enablement of non-directory applications, which is a step in the right direction. But until developers include LDAP connectors (or other directory access tools) along with Open Database Connectivity and JDBC connectors, we’ll remain a long way from standardizing directory specifications.

There’s a bit of hope that the Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards (OASIS), through the Provisioning Services Technical Committee (the Service Provisioning Markup Language folks) might come up with some standards for virtualizing the transfer of directory information.

We’re still a long way from considering the directory datastore to be ubiquitous, also. That’s too bad, as software developers need to be able to rely on the presence of a directory service in much the same way that they rely on the presence of an SQL-based database, printer drivers and other “standard” computing devices and fixtures.

What’s really sad is that these are the same three resolutions I offered for 2002.

Still, hope springs eternal – one reason why people continue to declare, in early January, that this IS the year they will: exercise more, eat less, dress better, stop smoking, really talk to their kids or finally write that novel. Well, I did stop smoking a few years ago, so there is evidence that a strong resolve can work. With that evidence, I’ll be back in the next issue with a few resolutions for the identity management industry to consider. Stay tuned, and have hope.